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Intel Supports Xeon-Based Blade Standard

Of course they do; it's their own!

August 3, 2007 - This week, Intel announced it joined more than 40 server technology providers in support of the Modular Server Specifications. What do you mean, joined? Intel is founder and one of the four Promotors of the Server Systems Infrastructure Forum (SSI Forum) that is responsible for this specification.

Nothing in the press release suggests Intel has anything to do with the foundation of the SSI Forum, and that the specification is Xeon-specific. Instead, it states that Intel is proud of its history of more than nine years of contributions and association with SSI and that Intel is an active participant in the specification that will drive new cost-effective, flexible, industry standards-based platforms based on the Intel Xeon processor into the server market. A boilerplate on the Forum is lacking.

The same goes for the website of the SSI Forum: no About or History section, nor any link between the goals of the Forum on the one hand and Intel and its Xeon processors on the other. Only a tiny copyright notice at the bottom of the page denotes that Intel owns the content of the site.

Summer Spin

Facts are that the SSI Forum was founded by Intel in 1998, to promote form factor specifications for server platforms built around their own processors. And even though that's not what the goal defined on the Forum's home page says today, it still is. No "industry standard", no "industry initiative", and no "consortium". Apart from the need for a standard for blade designs, even from the value of a specification for Xeon-based blades, Intel used this announcement to do some summer spin.

In a reaction an Intel spokesman said that Intel was a founder of the SSI Forum, like it was a founder of many standardization organizations. The goal of the SSI Forum is to provide developers with design specifications for servers systems and power supplies specifically for Xeon-based systems. Intel was and will be an active member, involved in the definition of the specifications. However, the SSI Forum is not Intel and Intel is not the SSI Forum. There are currently 185 members, and over 45 design specifications have been produced.

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